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From the Classroom to the Field

Gaylord Extra: September Edition

From the Classroom to the Field

By Emma Rowland, Gaylord College Class of 2026

Something that Gaylord College prides itself on is the accomplishments of its students. By creating a hands-on learning environment inside the classroom, students are able to succeed in their field on and off campus. Over the summer, Gaylord students landed internships in various fields, gaining valuable insight on real-life scenarios and applying these experiences to the classroom once they return in the fall.  

Alexa Albaugh, a public relations junior is minoring in marketing; she spent the summer in Algonquin, Illinois. There she interned with Sensear, a company that manufactures hearing protection and communication equipment. Albaugh primarily worked on social media and marketing. Her projects varied from day to day, and she was able to create her own graphics for the company which will be used for promotion of their headset trade-in program. Sensear’s company is based in both America and Australia, so Alexa also had the opportunity to help design and create a booth for the trade show in Illinois.  

Alexa is predicted to graduate in December 2024, and plans to continue working on the marketing side of public relations after college. “I think it gave a lot of insight into the real world and gave me an idea of what I want to do after college,” Albaugh said, “It’s normal to be intimidated and feel like you don’t know anything, but I learned that it is important to ask for help.”   

Another summer intern, Izzy Wilson, professional writing sophomore with a minor in history, spent her summer at a  Smithsonian affiliate in Oklahoma City. The Emerson Collective Youth Collaboration produces cohorts, one being the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliates like the Oklahoma History Society in OKC. Emerson Collective Youth Collaborative offers an eight-week where college students are able to engage with historical records and utilize museum content. The center researched issues this summer such as gender studies, climate and environmental issues and social injustice. Wilson’s research was inclusive of environmental studies on the 1930 Dust Bowl.   

Wilson researched and located an online exhibit for the Oklahoma History Society that will be published and used as classroom teaching material. She also created five different activities to be used along with the published material. Her internship began in June and ended in August, but she is still polishing the material she worked on this summer before it is published and sent out for use by classroom educators. One unique thing about her internship at the Smithsonian is the pairing of each intern with a mentor. Izzy and her mentor met each week via zoom to discuss questions about her work, major, or to work on her resume.   

Wilson is on track to graduate in the spring of 2026 and continue her work in professional writing. “A lot of it focused on helping the interns get over imposter syndrome and working on professional development,” Wilson said, “Believing and knowing that I could belong in the professional study and not think that I don’t belong in my field.”   

Garrett Gage, a creative media production senior, was able to experience behind the scenes film production at Prairie Surf Media, located in downtown Oklahoma City. Prairie Surf Media is a multi-platform content creation studio whose focus is on the growth of streaming, television, and film production. Garrett was able to learn the culture of the film industry, and how it correlates with the creative media production side of it. While interning, he was given the opportunities to undergo real-life problem-solving scenarios when a major actor and writers' strike occurred this summer.   

He also attended workshops on media law, script coverage, and how to create questions for interviews regarding films. He was even able to curate questions to be asked during the DeadCenter film festival which took place June 8-11. Along with these opportunities, Garrett learned how to handle and edit original content, some of it being podcast content. Garrett worked on a podcast episode that interviewed Harold Hamm, a well-known Oklahoma name in the oil and gas industry.   

During the summer Gage was able to connect with many different people from influential places such as Los Angeles. “Going into it I would never expect to do anything in film or the movie industry, because I was originally more drawn to the advertising or commercial side,” said Gage, “But I ended up really enjoying what I learned this summer.”  

Mecca Thompson, a broadcast journalism senior, with a minor in film and media studies, stayed in Houston, TX this summer interning with television station KPRC 2. KPRC 2 is Houston's local affiliate of NBC. This was Thompson’s second summer with KPRC 2, and while last year she spent in the lifestyle and entertainment department, this summer she worked in the news department. Working five days and at least 30 hours a week, Mecca was a part of real-life, on base sites gaining hands-on experience and training.   

She was assigned each day to either the reporter shift, assignment desk or producing. Her big assignments consisted of working on story packages, the major one being the record-breaking heat in Texas this summer and the effects on the state and communities another project being produced during her time at KPRC this summer was a video for the internship program. As one of the more experienced interns at the station, Thompson was given the opportunity to film and edit a video discussing her experience as an intern at the station and how that has positively impacted her career and knowledge in the broadcast journalism field. The video will be accessible to anyone on the station’s website in the coming months.    

Mecca Thompson graduates in the spring of 2024 and is hopeful to continue work at KPRC 2 in Houston. One thing she brought back to Oklahoma is this piece of advice for fellow Gaylord students: “With Houston being the 8th largest market in the world, it was amazing to get hands on training from people that are on such a high level” Thompson said, “the beauty and power of connections is so strong. Make it a point to network and make lasting connections.”    

These are just a few of many stories of Gaylord students who spent their summers learning their craft.  They return to Gaylord with a broader view of their chosen field, better equipped to someday work in it, and with great memories of a summer as a Gaylord intern.

Alexa Albaugh.
Alexa Albaugh
Izzy Wilson.
Izzy Wilson / Photo: Noah Bryan, GCM
Garrett Gage.
Garrett Gage / Photo: Noah Bryan, GCM
Mecca Thompson.
Mecca Thompson

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